'Who flare up tensions misusing patriotic moods for short-term political gains' - Ghia Abashidze on Keshikchidag or David Gareja dispute | Eurasia Diary - ednews.net

26 May,


'Who flare up tensions misusing patriotic moods for short-term political gains' - Ghia Abashidze on Keshikchidag or David Gareja dispute

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The dispute over Keshikchidag or David Gareja monastery complex erupted recently caused some rumores between two side. The officials of both country is hopin the resolution of dispute by mutual consent. Eurasia Diary took an interview by Georgian political analyst Ghia Abashidze for understanding the case.

 

- What do you think, why the dispute over David Gareja monastery complexerupted?

- The issue of unresolved segments of Georgian-Azerbaijan state border has been popping up for number of years. As we know, the non-demarcated border also passes through the David Gareja cave monastery complex and interstate negotiations have so far been unable to solve the matter. Previous Saakashvili-led government who controlled almost all media outlets in the country did not allow wide spin of the topic in media. 

Nowadays, while the issue of demarcation is still pending and internal political tensions are high in Georgia recent and not first temporary restrictions of movements in the parts of complex by the Azerbaijani border guards was quickly picked up by some politicians and activists in Georgia. Some of them who are affiliated with the previous ruling and now opposition United National Movement were quite silent on the problem when Saakashvili was in power. Of course, it does not mean that they do not have the right to voice legitimate concerns on the David Gareja monastery but heating up tensions when Georgia’s Orthodox Church leader, Patriarch Ilia II has called for peaceful and truthful resolution of the problem is not understandable for me.

Notably in parallel to the high level interstate diplomatic communication Orthodox and Muslim community leaders held several talks and temporary restrictions in the monastery were lifted. As a rule, any conflict has a constructive side too. It speeded up resumption of the renewed Georgian-Azerbaijani border commission. Georgian Foreign Ministry reported after the meeting held in Baku on May 14 that both parties stressed the importance to avoid provocations around the issue and agreed to act with the “spirit of strategic partnership”.

 

Related: Small problems can cause big troubles - Georgian and Azerbaijani specialists comment on border problem

 

- What is the attitude of the Georgian government and people to this problem?

- For Georgians and the Georgian Orthodox Church, David Gareja monastery is a very special and sacred place related to one of the 13 Syrian Christian monks who arrived in the region in the sixth century and is thought to have first settled there. Noteworthy to mention, last year, the European organization Europa Nostra completed its review of that unique historical monument and stated that the whole complex which includes 22 temples and 5,000 cells, is added it to its list of monuments of cultural importance threatened by destruction.

Sober-minded society in Georgia does understand that the complicated pending issue must be solved soon peacefully without harming strategic and brotherly relations of Georgia and Azerbaijan. It is clear understanding that the south-western slope of the hill in that monastery complex is of strategic importance for Azerbaijan making issue of the historical monument a political issue and that’s why years-long dragging of the problem is no longer acceptable. Mutually acceptable solution must be delivered timely.

 

- Who stands behind the scene?

- I do not want to engage myself in boosting conspiracy theories and to blame specific individuals and/or entities but those who flare up tensions misusing patriotic moods with a view to gain very short-term political goals directly or indirectly trying to jeopardize truly very good neighbourly and friendly relations of Georgia and Azerbaijan are not friends of our countries, it’s on contrary.

 

Related: They gave provocative statement about Keshikchidag - Khalaf Khalafov

 

- What can be the solution?

- As it was reported, the renewed joint commission working on the demarcation of the Georgian-Azerbaijani border resumed its work on Tuesday. The sides discussed the border delimitation process stressing that 2/3 of the border has been agreed on and now it needs further communication over the remaining sections. Yes, rapid and right communication is definitely needed between the sides on the given issue. Options could be several. Now, it’s up to the politicians, relevant civil servants and experts to agree on without delays. Quite often the solution turns out more beautiful than the puzzle.

 

Ulvi Ahmedli

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